South Loop hotels
The 254 rooms at this South Loop hotel, located in the shadow of the hulking Hilton, aren't dazzling, but they are clean, comfortable and decorated in good taste. The hotel shuttles guests free of charge to the Magnificent Mile. The key attractions are the retractable glass roof atop the indoor pool, and the terrace, both offering million-dollar views. Brasserie by LM is the French-inspired restaurant in the hotel lobby.
Back in 1927, the former Stevens was the largest hotel in the world: There were roughly 3,000 rooms at the time. Though the hotel went through countless changes, it is still a beast with 1,634 guestrooms. The hotel boasts its own charm: fine art décor, "executive" level for pampering and pub authenticity from Irish exchange program for staff.
The Blake is housed in the recently renovated former 19th-century headquarters of the Morton Salt Company. Located in the heart of Printers Row, the hotel's historic exterior belies the chic, contemporary digs that lie within its walls. A 24-hour complimentary business center and fitness room are just a few of the attractions.
This gorgeous hotel, first opened in 1910, has had an intriguing run so far. Many U.S. Presidents have stayed there (including Teddy Roosevelt), it was a favorite hangout of Al Capone and his cronies, and Maharishi Yogi, the Beatles' personal guru, once owned the building. Now it's simply one of the most beautiful hotels in the Loop and a favorite for bands playing at the nearby Lollapalooza music festival in August. Don't miss the attached Spanish small-plates restaurant, Mercat a la Planxa.
With its burgundy carpeting, dated print bedspreads and cherry wood furniture, this budget hotel's guest rooms seem to have come off the "standard-issue-hotel" assmebly line. But it's clean, located close to Grant Park and many other attractions, and has a pretty decent Thai place on the first floor.